The golden rule of skiing in the backcountry should be to take a qualified mountain guide, but it’s not compulsory to do so. A guide can assess the situation and minimise the risks, and find some of the best runs for the conditions on the day. It’s their job to show clients the best of the mountain so splashing out on a guide will help keep you safe, and give you a far better day than finding your own way.
Staying safe off-piste
Skiing fresh, untouched powder can be the most fun you’ll ever have, as long as you don’t take risks.
Skiing and snowboarding off-piste, away from the crowds and getting fresh tracks among spectacular scenery, is utterly addictive.
Many ski domains have ‘itinerary’ routes, or freeride areas, that have been made secure by the mountain safety team, but are not regularly controlled like pistes – they’re the safest way to experience powder if you haven’t had avalanche training. Because skiing off-piste is risky – every year, avalanches are set off around the Alps by people who are in the wrong place, at the wrong time, without the skills to cope. Here’s our guide to tackling it safely and minimising risks.